"Can I pray for you?” These are words that you frequently hear from Bob when he encounters someone hurting or in need.
For the past 30 years, Bob has experienced and seen first-hand the abundant grace and mercy of God that has come through praying with others. He has been all over the world with this work as a soil and water scientist. He has used that opportunity to be a witness of Christ where ever God has planted him. From experiencing great sadness, deep despair and not knowing for sure if God existed, it truly is amazing to see the grace that has come into Bob’s life, and how he shares God’s love with others.
Bob experienced two great tragedies early in his life. The first was the accidental drowning death of his one-year old daughter. The second was when he received a call from his wife four months after his daughter’s death saying she was leaving their marriage. Up until that point, Bob had thrown his whole self into building his career. His career was his focus and unfortunately his marriage and family suffered.
When Bob received the news that his wife was leaving their marriage, he said he was decimated emotionally. “I was in emotional shock. It was like a dark cloud came into my mind and it was just dark, bleak, no hope, like a deep despair inside of me. It was a very difficult period of days and weeks and months after that. All the things I had worked so hard to achieve with my career, left me empty. They didn’t seem as important as my marriage and three children,” said Bob.
Bob tried to reconcile with his wife, but she moved farther away emotionally. His family and friends encouraged Bob to seek God but his mind wasn’t there. When he eventually realized his marriage wasn’t able to be saved, he accepted the encouragement of his friends to pray and ask for God’s help.
“I made a decision to make some honest prayers. It was the first time in my life that I prayed, ‘God if you exist, please come to me because I need your help.’ I also decided I needed to do my part. I started to pray multiple times each day and I began to read the Scriptures,” said Bob.
He read Psalms and found he could relate the most to the psalms of sadness and mourning. In the midst of his darkness, those psalms provided him with hope and consolation. It was the first time he felt comfort during this challenging time. God revealed Himself and Bob felt His presence. God had answered his prayer.
He continued to spend more time in prayer and he began to feel the close presence of Jesus and His love for him. He also felt God calling him to repent. He realized he hadn’t been a good husband and father by not putting God and his family first. He sought forgiveness and healing from God.
He started attending daily Mass and going to a prayer group at his church. The members of the prayer group were welcoming and Bob felt their love as they prayed with him. It was through this time of experiencing how God had answered his prayer that he intentionally decided to put God and his family as priorities in his life. He also became intentional about pursuing God’s plan for his life rather than his own desires and interests. God was transforming His heart.
Next week, you’ll read how God continued to reveal Himself and how Bob responded to his call to discipleship in the final segment of “Tragedies, Redemption and Discipleship.”